Introduction: Nothing But the Blood of Jesus
I. Our first question is based on Hebrews 9:22, “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.”
1. The question is, “Why blood?”
2. If I wanted to clean something, blood is not the first thing that I would think of using. Blood stains and is often difficult to remove.
3. And how is it that remission of sin requires the shedding of blood. What makes blood so important?
II. God gives us a hint as to the value of blood
A. Deuteronomy 12:23, “Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat.”
B. God connects life to the blood that flows in men and animals. Herein then lies the importance of blood – it represents life.
III. Life, represented in blood, becomes the payment for sin
A. When we sin, we cut ourselves off from God. Reading in Isaiah 59:1-4, “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity. No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.”
B. It is easy to imagine the murderer defiling himself with the blood of his victim, but God tells us that all sins are the equivalent of murder in his eyes.
C. The real victim in sins is the sinner. “ For the wages of sin is death”, Romans 6:23.
D. When we sin, a precious soul has been murdered in God’s sight. Yet it is not eternally lost. It can be bought back or redeemed.
E. Since the creation, man has offered animals on altars. The first instance recorded is the offering of lambs by Abel in Genesis 3.
F. Under the Law of Moses, numerous sacrifices were required. God explains in Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
1. In other words, life is offered for life.
G. Despite all the animals sacrificed, the offerings were never enough. The Hebrew writer explains, “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:1-4)
1. The writer argues that the requirement to repeatedly offer animal sacrifices proves that they did not remove sins.
2. Instead, all that blood shed continually reminded the worshipers of their sins.
3. There then remained the need for a permanent solution. “By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10).
4. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
5. “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (I Peter 1:18-19).
H. Jesus’s sacrifice was not just for those who followed after Him. It also reached back through time. “And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:15).
IV. I John 1:7 tells us, “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin”.
A. Sin is viewed as filth, which is removed by the blood of the Son of God.
B. Back under the first covenant, items used in the service of God were sprinkled with blood to dedicate them to God. “Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:21-22).
C. The word “sanctification” refers to something set apart to the service of God. What is sanctified is considered pure and holy.
D. In describing Christian martyrs, an angel told John, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:14)
E. This is why another term for a Christian is “saint”. A saint has been sanctified by the blood of the Savior. He is set apart for service to God. “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.” (I Peter 4:1-2).
F. “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13-14)
V. Perhaps you noticed that in several of the verses that we have cited that covenants are also connected to the shedding of bloods.
A. Covenants are the predecessor of our modern-day contracts.
1. Covenants contained binding terms. They could be specific tasks to be accomplished, or on-going terms of relationship.
2. Covenants also had witnesses, something permanent which testified to the existence of the covenant.
a. When men made covenants, they would setup a monument, such as was done between Jacob and Laban in Genesis 31:43-54.
b. The witness to the covenant God made with Noah was the rainbow. (Genesis 9:12-15)
c. The witness to the covenant God made to Abraham and his descendants was the circumcision of the foreskin. (Genesis 17:11)
3. The parties in a covenant would sit down to fellowship meal, to show their acceptance of one another. It showed that the covenant had settled any dispute and that they were now at peace.
4. But important for our discussion, covenants were sealed by blood sacrifices.
B. Hebrews 9:18-20 , “not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.’”
C. The new covenant was likewise established by shed blood.
1. Jesus, when establishing the memorial meal that we know as the Lord’s Supper, stated, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)
2. The Hebrew writer tells us, “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.” (Hebrews 9:16-17).
3. While Christ taught His new covenant while He walked this earth, it could not go into effect until the law giver died.
D. And in his death, Jesus purchased the church with his blood (Acts 20:28).
E. When the church gathers to partake of the Lord’s Supper, it is eating the covenant meal showing our fellowship with one another and with God. “I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” (I Corinthians 10:15-17)
1. The reason the Lord’s Supper is some times called “communion” is in reference to the sharing of Christians in the remembrance of our covenant formed by Christ’s death.
VI. Hence, the Hebrew writer concludes, “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, et us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)
A. In this passage we see the allusion to Moses sanctifying the tabernacle with sprinkled blood, but how does the washing of our bodies with pure water come into play?
B. In Romans 6:3-4, Paul explains, “do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
1. Baptism symbolizes Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection.
2. You could say that it is through baptism that we come into contact with the cleansing blood of Jesus.
C. This is why Ananias told Paul, “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins” in Acts 22:16.
1. It is not the water that cleanses, but the blood of Christ, contact by us in the watery grave of baptism.
2. Or as Peter said, “and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 3:21)
3. The power is not in the water, but in the blood. And the way to contact the blood is through humble obedience of baptism.
D. Recall also that Christ’s shed blood purchased the church.
1. We enter Christ through baptism. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:27-29)
2. Hence we read that on the day of Pentecost, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. ... And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:41, 47)